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Responsibilities of Angels

By: Scott Morton

The last few articles have been looking at the angelic realm, helping the believer to understand what is going on in the heavenly places. As we continue to look at the angelic realm, it is important for us to understand what the function of the angels actually is. This article is going to focus on the angels which have not followed the plan of Satan, as they would be going about doing the things which Satan had intended for them to do.

We can see the role of the angelic realm in the praise and worship of God in many passages.

Psalms 148:1-2

Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. [2] Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.

Revelation 5:11-13

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; [12] Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. [13] And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

These two passages show the praise which comes from the angels. They glorify God in everything they do, as this is the function they have. There are other passages which show the other angelic beings functioning in the exact same way:

Revelation 4:7-9

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. [8] And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. [9] And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

Isaiah 6:1-3

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. [2] Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. [3] And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

The purpose of these beings, which includes the Seraphim, is to praise God in worship. Satan, when he was created, was given the role of being the anointed cherub that covereth. As part of this role, he was created with all sorts of jewels covering his body. In the position he had above the throne of God, he would have reflected the glory of God into all of the creation. Since God is light (1 John 1:5), the light would have reflected off of the jewels and would have shown throughout the universe, reflecting the Glory of God.

With the change which had occurred as part of the rebellion against God and the creation of man, the angels were given responsibility related to man. With Israel, and man prior to the formation of the nation, they were interacting with man:

Genesis 19:1-5

And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; [2] And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. [3] And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. [4] But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: [5] And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

The angles that came into Lot and his family show a number of things which are important for us to understand:

Angels can function on the earth in their physical form

Angels look like men

Angels eat and rest

These facts show why God can talk about how an individual could entertain angels unaware (Hebrews 13:2). If angels have the appearance of a man, someone could actually have an interaction with one and not even know this was going on.

Zechariah 1:9-14

Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. [10] And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. [11] And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. [12] Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? [13] And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. [14] So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

This passage shows another role the angels had with Israel. They were the messengers of God, communicating what was going on in His plan. They were giving the Word of God to Israel in order for them to understand the program and then to follow all of the things which were going on.

This ministry was particularly important during the time of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth. God had been silent for almost 400 years and He now was revealing to them the next step of the redemptive work for the nation:

Luke 1:11-20

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. [12] And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. [13] But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. [14] And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. [15] For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. [16] And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. [18] And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. [19] And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. [20] And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Here Gabriel is communicating with Zacharias to identify the birth of John the Baptist. It is important to note that the prophecies were waiting for the voice of one crying in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:1-3) and the coming of Elijah (Malachi 4:5), who John had come in the spirit of. Since this was something new for the nation, they needed to have this information communicated to them in this manner. This is also true when Gabriel speaks to Mary about the Lord Jesus Christ:

Luke 1:26-38

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28] And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. [31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? [35] And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [36] And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. [37] For with God nothing shall be impossible. [38] And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

The angel here communicates to Mary exactly what is going on in the plan of God. She is identified as the mother of the individual who would be the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is exactly what had been prophesied (Isaiah 7:14), showing that things are going according to the plan of God.

This is a ministry of the angels which has ceased. The Apostle Paul was given the responsibility of completing the Word of God (Colossians 1:25-27). When he penned his last epistle, 2 Timothy, the Word of God was complete and there was no longer a need for the angels to be communicating these things.

When we do look at this dispensation, it is pretty clear on what is occurring with angels. The Apostle Paul declares what is going on in the following verse:

Ephesians 3:8-11

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [10] To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, [11] According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

It is clear the angelic realm (the principalities and powers in heavenly places) are observing us, for the purpose of understanding the wisdom of God. They had known the revealed will of God (Prophecy) and saw everything functioning in the attempt to reconcile the world unto God.

They did not have an understanding of the mystery because it had been hid in God. The angelic realm is learning everything they know about the reconciliation of the heavenly places through their observation of the members of the Body of Christ. They are watching us and attempting to learn what God is doing. This is truly a unique situation, as they do not have an actual role in what is going on. They are just watching this dispensation, knowing we are going to be taking their positions in the heavenly places, which is why the Apostle Paul identifies we will be judging angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). They are seeing fallen man, having their sins taken care of by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, putting their trust in this alone for salvation, living their lives and doing things which are still unpleasing to God because man is still walking in a fleshly body. The angels see these things not being held to our account and the fact that we still have the guarantee of the position of ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something they truly have to observe and learn, as it is not something which had been part of God's program prior to this.



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